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Family Relations and Human Development
FRHD 1020
Tuuli Kukkonen

COUPLE & FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS: CHAPTER 9 1  Never-married mothers are seen as more responsible for their situation than abandoned wives or widows  Some communities are more tolerable of premarital child-bearing  Stat Canada’s definition of a lone-parent family is “a mother or father, with no spouse or common-law partner present, living in a dwelling with one or more children”  More than 80% of single parents are women  2006 – lone-parent families made up over 15.9% of all Canadian families and 25.8% of those with children  Children born later will experience lone-parent family living earlier  Often lone-parenthood is temporary  Fewer teen mothers are married and fewer put their babies up for adoption  Waning emphasis on the traditional nuclear family and more acceptability of family variations  In Quebec, lone-parenthood is better accepted  Canadian-born black children are more likely to be with a single parent than were the foreign born  Aboriginal families are more likely to have one parent The Path of Single Parenthood  The number of widows were higher in the 1950s because of war  Divorces have increased due to changes in law that make it easier to get one  The life patterns of never-married, divorced, and widowed female lone parents vary in a number of ways  These differences in life patterns include the age at which the woman becomes a single parent, the likelihood of marriage and remarriage, current life circumstances, and the impact of the life-cycle stage when single-parenthood began  The lone parent can live with another adult, whether a friend, male or female, with or without a sexual relationship  They can have a live-in weekend friend, have an outside heterosexual or homosexual relationship or could live with relatives How Long Does it Last?  Lone parenthood can end because of various reasons: remarriage, cohabitation, change of custody, or independence of children  Many young mothers marry young  Nearly half enter common-law relationships  They are more likely than older mothers to separate, divorce, and marry more than once  2001-2006 – just over one million Canadians went through a separation or divorce from marriage  Common-law couples spent an average 4.3 years together compared with 14.3 years for married couples  About half of divorced and 60% of separated had children  More than half of divorced Canadians do not plan on remarrying  Divorced women with young children are least likely to enter a union  Widows remain lone parents the longest  For most children, the first experience in lone parent families lasts less than 5 years  By age 6, 10 out of 100 children have a second experience of a single-parent family Single Parenthood and the Life Cycle  Age is important to the experience of single parenthood  Pregnant teens often don’t have realistic plans for future employment and haven’t finished their education  Males who are younger are not able to make meaningful financial and social contributions  Older single women tend to have high ideals for marriage  May seek a man just to become pregnant  Widows have the greatest chance of being financially stable  They do not share resources with an ex and the family has generally had time to acquire assets  The impact of single parenthood depends on whether the child is a new baby, school-aged, a teenager, or a young person leaving home The Quality of Life Single Parents and Economic Survival  1920 – Mother Allowance, strictly defined who was eligible  Rules have softened since  1966 – Canada Assistance Plan was introduced to share the costs of social assistance between federal and provincial governments  Lone parents were classified as “unemployable” until their youngest child reached 18  1998 – the federal government offered additional support to low-income families with children through the National Child Benefit  2003 – nearly half of single mothers lived in poverty  20% of lone-father families were poor  Childcare and transportation problems, as well as physical and emotional disabilities are barriers to employment  Working lone mothers experience tension in juggl
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